June is known as Pride Month. There’s a good chance you know that because it’s splashed across social media, news coverage about different things, and fodder for politicians from all other parties and perspectives.
What is the point or purpose of Pride Month? It honors the identity, rights, and inclusion of LGBTQ people in the United States by celebrating their place in American history and America’s future. It’s a time of pride, affirmation, and celebration for who an individual happens to be. Pride month is also a time of advocacy with the goal of increasing inclusivity.
So, you might be wondering, why am I writing and posting this in July and not in June?
Simple. I think it’s unfortunate that there needs to be a Pride Month at all. It’s one thing if a group of people chooses to have a day, week, or month of celebration and share what matters to them. It’s another thing when a group of people must do so in an effort to educate others, celebrate their identity when so many people want to put them down and advocate for the rights that are actively being stripped from them – if they were ever granted in the first place.
I’ve not personally part of the LGBT Q IA + acronym, but I do consider myself an ally. It still amazes me that so many people harbor such animosity and even hatred toward those who are members of that group. Why are we as a society going backward in terms of humanity, empathy, tolerance, compassion, and understanding?
Humor me please, and consider these questions:
- Do you truly think human rights only belong to people who fit your preferred demographics?
- Do you think people really willingly choose difficult paths in life, when choosing what the majority thinks is “normal” would be so much easier?
- Do you really want to help make people hate themselves for being honest about who they are? Are you aware of the statistics regarding suicide rates and self-harm rates among people in these groups?
- When you hear inflammatory statements about LGBT QI A + people, do you take the time to look into what you’re hearing, or do you just believe it because that’s easier than finding out the truth?
- If you’re a member of a faith that preaches intolerance, does it also claim to teach that you should love your fellow human beings? How do you reconcile those opposing commands?
- Do you truly believe that what consenting adults do in their own private lives is your business? If so, are you willing to share everything you do in your own most private moments?
These are serious questions and I pose them with the best of intentions. If you’re reading this, no one is monitoring what you think or passing judgment about it. I do think that sometimes all of us get stuck in ruts about how we think about certain issues. We can forget to actually think and instead blindly follow along with what political, religious, community or other people tell us.
What can you do, or should you do?
You don’t have to shout your support for the LGBT IA + community from the rooftops. You don’t even have to whisper it in the shadows if you don’t want to.
But you can refrain from fanning the flames of hatred and intolerance. If you’re willing to be more proactive, you can donate a couple of dollars to a supportive cause. You can do that anonymously. You can reach out to an organization and ask what you can do to be supportive. No matter what your preferred political party is, you can study the candidate and look for someone who doesn’t spew hatred and division. Don’t let people use you as an instrument of hate.
If you want to do something proactive, here are a few organizations that can give you ideas about how you can help.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services—including a 24-hour hotline, chat, and texting—for LGBTQ+ youths under age 25.
True Colors United
Estimates show that LGBTQ youth make up to about 40 percent of America’s homeless youth population. True Colors United, founded by Cyndi Lauper in 2008, offers free training and resources to youth homeless services to make sure they are safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQ young people.
GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”) works to end bullying, discrimination, and harrassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in K-12 schools. The organization’s goal is to make sure all kids have a safe and supportive place to learn.
LGBTQ Freedom Fund
LGBTQ individuals are three times more likely to be jailed—and they’re also at increased risk of abuse while incarcerated. By posting bail for LGBTQ people who can’t afford to pay bail in U.S. jails and immigration facilities, this organization works against mass incarceration and the life-threatening reality that 40 percent of suicides in jails occur within the first week.
As always, please feel free to reach out and share your thoughts with me at email@example.com. Agree with me, disagree with me, I’m always open to a civil exchange. You may just find yourself mentioned and thanked in the next newsletter.